Tang Jingling (唐荆陵), a Guangdong lawyer retained by the family of the late labor activist Li Wangyang (李旺阳), was detained for six days, from September 5 to September 10 in Shaoyang, Hunan Province, and in Shaoguan, Guangdong Province. Li’s death on June 6 this year in a hospital room in Shaoyang was declared a suicide by the authorities, but this determination has been questioned by Li’s family and friends.
Tang told Human Rights in China (HRIC) the following course of events. He arrived at Shaoyang on September 3, 2012, to try to meet with Li Wangyang’s relatives and friends to further investigate Li’s death. He then decided to leave when he learned that Shaoyang domestic security authorities were aware of his plans. When he returned to Shaoyang with two journalists from Hong Kong on September 5, the three were detained along with their cab driver by officers from the Xintianpu police substation of Xinshao County Public Security Bureau. (Xinshao County is under the administration of Shaoyang.)
The officers explicitly told Tang that he was not welcome in Shaoyang. When Tang said that he had travelled to Shaoyang to investigate Li Wangyang’s death, he was told that the local authorities have already determined the cause of Li’s death and no further investigation was necessary.
The police took away Tang’s bag, which held his laptop, camera, and other possessions. The cab driver was released at around 11:00 a.m. on September 6. In the early evening of September 6, three domestic security officers from Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, arrived at the substation to retrieve Tang Jingling and took him by train to Shaoguan, where he was kept in a hotel for five days. On September 10, Shaoyang domestic security authorities returned Tang his bag, however his laptop and camera were no longer operable. Tang was released that evening and sent home.
The Guangzhou domestic security officers told Tang that an additional reason for his five-day detention was the Hong Kong legislative elections, which were held on September 9.
For more information on Tang Jingling, see:
- Zan Aizong, “Rights Defense and ‘Non-Violent Non-Cooperation,’” China Rights Forum, 2009, no. 1
For more information on Li Wangyang, see:
- Liu Weiguo et al, “Ten Chinese Lawyers Urge a New Investigation into Li Wangyang’s Death,” July 23, 2012 (Chinese only)
- “Relatives of Li Wangyang Being Held by Authorities,” June 7, 2012
- “Relatives Question Hunan Activist’s ‘Suicide’; Demand Autopsy,” June 6, 2012
- “Activist Free after Ten-Year Term; Three Writers to Be Released This Month,” May 5, 2011
- “Despite Claims to the Contrary, China Holds UN Torture Rapporteur at Arm's Length,” November 8, 2001
- “Prisoner Profile: Li Wangyang,” China Rights Forum, Fall 2001
- “Veteran Labor Activist Li Wangyang Sentenced,” September 20, 2001
- “Warning to the Shaoyang Local Government: Stop Persecuting Li Wangyang Right Now!,” September 24, 2011
- “Veteran Labor Activist Li Wangyang Convicted of Subversion,” September 6, 2001